Budget time at Caymanas
SPEEDY SIR BUDGET reports without blinkers this afternoon and gets a slight pull in the scale, a combination which could put the six-year-old back in the winners' enclosure for the first time in 10 months.
An open allowance winner last October, his second in a little over three months at the level, SIR BUDGET went up to grade one in November and ran a big race with 126lb in the Caribbean Sprint, won by CHACE THE GREAT, beaten by only three and a half lengths after being second at the furlong pole.
His next run was December's Diamond Mile in which he turned for home third behind SHE'S A MANEATER, a six-furlong split of 1:09.4, before predictably weakening out of contention.
SIR BUDGET spent his next four starts back down in class in open allowance, facing the best sprinters in the country, with whom he disputed the lead in all but one race - when drawn at post position one at five furlongs straight.
In May, he carried the field to the furlong pole where ANOTHER BULLET ran through to win with another late closer, LOTTERY TICKET, claiming third. Encouraged by that run, trainer Michael Beecham decided to take a shot at the May 26 Lotto Sprint, a grade one race, an experiment with blinkers on SIR BUDGET for the first time.
In what turned out to be blistering fractions set by MR UNIVERSE and SIEMPRE BUENO, SIR BUDGET, by default, closed from off the pace to finish second behind none other than the country's best horse, SHE'S A MANEATER.
Beecham thought he had found the cure for cancer and when SIR BUDGET returned fitted with blinkers on July 7, two classes lower, he was knocked down to 6-5 with Gary Richards at the minimum five furlongs round.
However, he knotted up on the lead with POLLY B, who he was already allowing 15lb, and weakened inside the last half-furlong, both giving way to 14-1 stunner BIMINI.
Even though he led and was, indeed, significantly heavier than POLLY B, SIR BUDGET just did not seem himself, which was further compounded when he returned 11 days later and was shockingly outsped by LUNAR ROCKET and LIGHTNING LILY, before uncharacteristically making up late ground at six and a half furlongs.
Realising SIR BUDGET's run behind SHE'S A MANEATER, fitted with blinkers, was a flash in the pan, Beecham has removed the equipment and spent the last month reprogramming SIR BUDGET, his intentions made even clearer by summoning two-kilo claiming apprentice Oniel Beckford to come in at 121lb against main rivals PEKING CRUZ (115) and POLLY B (111).
PEKING CRUZ won impressively on last but that was at his favourite trip, five furlongs straight, beating a highly suspect MR VIGOROUS and badly drawn OUTRAGEOUS TAJ. Though he has won four races, only one was on the round course, scrambling home ahead of a stayer, MY ELLE BELLE, at five and a half furlongs.
POLLY B ran his heart out but was easily held by CRUCIAL APPEAL at five furlongs straight on Wednesday. Though he's pretty light at 111 and has hot Anthony Thomas aboard, the extra half-furlong, after his exertions on Wednesday, should be his undoing.
SIR BUDGET, on the other hand, has had a month's rest and is drawn one out from the rail, which he should easily grab from out-of-sorts DRAGLINE, putting him in the catbird seat for Beckford to time his run against LUNAR ROCKET, PEKING CRUZ and POLLY B.